News & views | 18 December 2020 | by Erin Bijl

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Now online: recommendations brief on reverberating effects of military action

One of the three themes studied and discussed in-depth during the 2020 PAX PoC conference concerned the so-called harmful ‘reverberating’ effects of military action on civilians. The negative effects of a conflict on civilians continue to be measured mainly in terms of its direct, immediate impact: the number of people wounded and killed during military action, perhaps even the percentage of buildings and infrastructure destroyed. During the conference, it was shown that the overall human costs of warfare are much greater than that, and should include attention for more longer-term and indirect negative effects of use of force on civilians as well. What happens, for instance, when a power plant is damaged in an airstrike, and lack of energy subsequently puts water service systems out of order?

The PAX PoC team now presents its recommendations brief, which is based on the insightful presentations and discussions of the conference. The brief sketches the context of the problem, and lays out a number of recommendations – aimed at military institutions and at units and commands actively engaged in conflict – to better take into account the reverberating effects of use of force on civilians. You can read the full brief here.

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